On the eve of the first day of classes, Tuesday, August 23rd, Dr. Ryan McGraw will deliver his inaugural address as full professor of systematic theology. His lecture will be entitled: "Gisbertus Voetius, Presbyterianism, and Smart Phones." The lecture will highlight the problems of contemporary theology in a contemporary context. His thesis: Systematic theology should incorporate sound doctrine wedded with piety, service to and through the church, and application of these principles must be made to training contemporary Reformed pastors.
The lecture will be delivered at 7 p.m. at Covenant Community Church (OPC), 418 E. Main St., Taylors, South Carolina (just east of the seminary). A reception will follow in the church's fellowship hall.
To gain the rank of full professor, an associate professor must be recognized by peers as an authority in his field of specialization, and by colleagues and students as a superior teacher and scholar. Professional competence as evidenced by:
- acceptance for publication of a variety of significant articles and/or book(s) on areas of his expertise.
- invitations to lecture at other institutions and learned societies or participation in scholarly projects.
Dr. McGraw has served on the faculty as associate professor and a prolific published writer/scholar during the past year. He came to the GPTS faculty from his pastorate in Sunnyvale, Calif. A graduate of GPTS, he is also a research associate at University of the Free State in South Africa. His lecture on John Owen at the 2016 GPTS Spring Theology Conference has been configured as an article in an upcoming issue of Reformation Today. The article is entitled "John Owen’s Trinitarian Legacy: A 400th Anniversary Appreciation."
Fall semester classes begin on August 24. As of Aug. 1st, five new students had been accepted for enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year. These include Felipe Cortial, an attorney from Brazil and Michael Kochie, a recent graduate from Reformation Bible College in Florida — both M.Div. on-campus students; Philip Jackson, distance-learning student from Germany, M.Div.; Tom Wagoner, distance student from Florida, B.Div.; and Nicholas Clark, distance student from Maryland, B.Div. Applications are pending for one other M.A. student, with at least two additional prospects expressing interest. Overall enrollment for the Fall semester is likely to be around 50 students.
The seminary began its soon-to-be 30-year history in what was then the Augusta Street Presbyterian Church in downtown Greenville. Some years later, the seminary moved to suburban Taylors, S.C. with classes being held at what is now Covenant Community Church (OPC), two blocks east of the present campus. The seminary moved into its present campus on Main Street, Taylors in 2008 following renovation of the old Taylors High School building.
Originally chartered in 1986 as the James Henley Thornwell Theological Seminary, the name of the school was changed in 2000 to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. (The name was changed when another charitable organization in South Carolina using the James Henley Thornwell name objected. Thornwell was a leading 19th century Southern Presbyterian theologian and scholar.)
Since its founding, GPTS has been distinctively “Old School” and Presbyterian in its outlook and philosophy, and because of this, it has placed a strong emphasis on the sufficiency and infallibility of the Word of God, on the faithful, heart-searching proclamation of the Word of God, and on obedience to the Great Commission as the sole mission of the church. “Faithful ministers and faithful churches”: that continues to be our vision.
According to the original incorporation application, the seminary was organized to "maintain for religious purposes a school or schools, seminary or seminaries, or other places of instruction, and to undertake or promote Scripturally-directed learning, education and scholarly enterprises and, in particular, to establish, control and develop an institution of theological studies perpetually dedicated to the Reformed Faith as expressed in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. Further, the said institution or institutions shall be dedicated to the promotion of Biblical and Confessional Orthodoxy."